Wakefield have confirmed that a key legal agreement has been signed so that their re-development plans for Belle Vue can now press on.
The agreement between the club, the local council and Newmarket Lane Limited confirms a funding package of £8.8m towards the works.
Demolition of the existing east stand is now expected to go ahead on July 4, after the home game with Wigan.
Chairman John Minards told Trinity TV: “This marks another significant milestone. The S106 Agreement, together with the contribution from Wakefield Council via the Sports Resilience Fund means that we now not only have the Planning Permission for our planned redevelopment but, importantly, have the funding confirmed as in place.
“It is now three years since we completed the purchase of the freehold of the Stadium. I am delighted that we finally got to this important stage despite the headwinds of the global pandemic and ongoing world events which have threatened to blow us off course.
“We remain resolutely committed to delivering the Community Stadium for both the Club and the people of Wakefield and are grateful to all the parties who are helping us get there!”
A minor delay in the grand scheme of things
The club had hoped to commence demolition of the east stand after the Castleford game on April 14.
But that was on the basis that the paperwork was completed back in January.
Preliminary work on the stadium re-development has already begun in advance to the major structural work.
Newmarket was earmarked for a brand new community stadium for Wakefield back in 2009 but never came to fruition.
Minards added: “I said in aftermath of our last announcement that it would be early in the New Year. It’s taken a bit longer than that.
“As there are three different parties, there have been various adjustments and amendments; none of which really affected us, but of course the separate planning application for Plot 8 at Newmarket.
“People have been on holiday and then half-term. But as I often reflect, we’ve waited 50 or 60 years for re-development of Belle Vue, so having to wait a couple of months longer was not going to make us stop.
“We’re hoping to proceed now (with the demolition) after the Wigan game. We can’t make any cast iron guarantees but we’re pretty confident it will be that date.”
The new development
There is plenty of work to be done on the Wakefield stadium re-development project.
Minards said: “Between now and then (July) we’ll do a number of things – continue the process with the detailed designs; work with architects and engineers around the detail of stuff that needs to go on before we can start building.
“There is stuff underground that we are just finding out about. The club has played here since the 1870s and some of it hasn’t been turned over since then.
“So there are a lot of things going on to get us ready and prepared, as well as the designs for the new stand and the north terrace work.
“We are obligated to develop a delivery plan with a detailed timetable to the council that will release the funds.”
The new 2,500-seater east stand will encompass new changing facilities and hospitality.
It is planned to be completed during the 2023 season.
After the demolition takes place, temporary seating will be in place that will reduce stadium capacity to 9,000.
The current buildings at the south end of the ground are to be replaced by a new community hub.